Tuesday, December 9, 2008
William F. Torpey:
I'm a retired reporter and editor, a veteran of 32 years with The Hour, a daily newspaper in Norwalk, Connecticut. I was graduated from New York University's School of Commerce (now Stern School of Business) in 1964. My major was in journalism, and I minored in marketing under a Public Relations program (financed partially under the Korean G.I. Bill.)
I am a three-year U.S. Army veteran (1954-57) having served as a Public Information Specialist in Germany for some 19 months and at Fort Carson, Colorado, for 10 months. I received my initial public information training at the Army Information School, located at that time at Fort Slocum, on David's Island off New Rochelle, N.Y.
My major activity in the Army was writing news articles for the 9th Division News and filing reports with the Stars & Stripes and Army Times by teletype. I was particularly proud of a full-page spread I wrote for the Army Times reporting on the first ever speed limit in Germany. It was established only for roads within the Wharton Barracks military dependent area in Heilbronn. Upon returning to the U.S. under "Operation Gyroscope," I was given the additional duties of 60th Infantry Regiment photographer with a full photo lab that I established in a small cottage at Fort Carson with a lot of help from the 9th Division Photography Section.
In the business world, I spent an exciting year as Public Relations Assistant with the Commerce and Industry Association of New York, where one of my duties was as Executive Director of the Hundred Year Association of New York then located at Church Street in downtown New York City, 1965-66. I was in charge of the Association's 1965 New York Hilton dinner when we presented the Gold Medal to David Rockefeller as "Man of the Year. At the dinner, I received a telegram from Mayor John Lindsay, which I passed along to Barry Gottehrer, who won the Association's award for his New York Herald Tribune "City in Crisis" series, which was instrumental in Lindsay's election as mayor in 1965.
Previous recipients of the Gold Medal include John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1935), Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers (1950), New York Mayors Rudolph W. Giuliani (1998) and Michael R. Bloomberg (2008.) I took the position of Executive Assistant at the Drug, Chemical and Allied Trades Asssociation, where I worked (in the Empire State Building) throughout 1967. Earlier, I worked as Inventory Supervisor for Peabody Engineering Corporation, then in Glenbrook, Conn., 1960-63.
I was born on May 29, 1935 on Ludlow Street in Yonkers, N.Y., which was dominated before and during World War II by the Alexander Smith carpet factory where my father and paternal grandfather worked for many years. As a young boy I lived for seven years with my maternal grandmother, who was the estranged wife of my famous grandfather, a longtime Irish prizefighter who fought more than 400 bouts under the alias Shamus O'Brien. (While his record was less than sterling, he was a good fighter and fought the revered lightweight champion Benny Leonard at least three times.)
I moved with my family to Norwalk, Connecticut, around 1951 and was graduated from Norwalk High School in 1954. I was married to Ruth Harriet Dugdale, 1938-2004, who was a registered nurse and later worked as Attendance Secretary at Darien High School. I have two grown children, Beth, a former Bluegrass Entertainer of the Year for the State of Maine, and Catherine, a graduate of the University of Chicago and Union Theological Seminary in New York, and the minister at the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeport, N.Y. I moved to Rockville Centre, N.Y., from Darien, Connecticut, in late 2005 and to Valley Stream, N.Y. recently. I am the incumbent Adjutant of the Robert F. Garrison Post 3350, Veterans of Foreign Wars in East Rockaway, New York.
I am a lifelong fan of Bing Crosby, the greatest singer of the 20th Century. Bing has been cited by the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest single record sales ever for his recording of "White Christmas." He also was an Oscar-winning actor for one of his five dozen movies ("Going My Way" 1944.) I am a member of the International Club Crosby and was an occasional commenter on the forum pages of the former Bing Crosby Internet Museum.